Analysis

bet365’s Bad Break ad push sign of things to come

Ads featuring Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad are now rolling in New Jersey and could drive up bet365’s brand value in the US.

One of the anomalies of the Wedge Index sportsbook brand-value weighting system could be rectified as bet365 has started ramping up its marketing activities in New Jersey.

According to the Wedge Index, bet365 is an also-ran in the US with a third-tier rating. It means that bet365 adds a mere two points to a state’s points tally, compared to four from the market leaders.

If the marketing works as planned, it could significantly raise bet365’s brand value in the US.

The self-styled ‘world’s favorite sportsbook’ is huge in its home market of the UK and is a market leader in many other countries in Europe and globally.

But to date the company has kept its marketing powder dry in the US.

Until now. The high-profile ads featuring Paul look designed to replicate the success the company has had with similar campaigns elsewhere.

In the UK the Stoke-on-Trent firm used British actor Ray Winstone, famed for playing hardman roles.

Challenge accepted

Harry Lang, founder at marketing agency brand Architects says he thinks the mimicking of the high-profile celebrity strategy will also be a winner in the US.

“Why not double down with a younger, hipper model in Aaron Paul – a man most famous for playing a smack-addicted meth dealer,” he says.

“I wouldn’t necessarily have gone down that route but then America is less mature when it comes to responsible gaming and gambling addiction than regulated European markets.”

A recent survey on the brand awareness of sportsbooks across the US found that DraftKings and FanDuel led the way.

The pair were followed by Barstool Sports, which only launched in Pennsylvania in September. Then came Fox Bet, BetRivers and PointsBet.

App awareness levels nationwide:

  • DraftKings – 41%
  • FanDuel – 38%
  • Barstool Sportsbook – 27%
  • Fox Bet – 25%
  • BetRivers – 22%
  • PointsBet – 22%

The fact that Barstool scores so highly barely a month into its trading existence proves new brands can enter the US sports-betting space.

But it should be noted that Barstool was not a new brand so much as one that translated from an adjacent sector.

All American

Lang points out these are all very much American brands, whereas bet365 appears to be ‘re-skinning’ its UK creative rather than attempting to sell a specifically US image.

“It would have been great to see them joining the party with bald eagles, Budweiser and a Harley Davidson,” he adds.

“It will be interesting to see if sticking to their generic brand was a mistake.”

One certainty is that media will be the winner as the leading brands spend to assert themselves.

Lang certainly thinks more is to come as competition in other states such as New York and Pennsylvania heats hup. “It’s a straight out crap shoot with likely two, maybe three winners in each state so these early land grabs are critical,” he says.

“I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen more Hollywood from the likes of DraftKings.

“If their marketing spend in the last two quarters is to be believed they could have had Rocky facing off against Jackie Chan with Tom Cruise as the referee.”

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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